Diving Safety

To keep your Great Lakes diving safe and enjoyable, please consider the following safety tips: 

  • Lakes Superior and Michigan are famous for violent weather. Monitor weather conditions and marine weather forecasts. 
  • Water temperatures vary with the season. Surface temperatures can reach 65°F in summer, but divers will find underwater temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Drysuits are recommended, but they require additional training. 
  • Visibility normally ranges from 10 to 80 feet, but can be reduced to zero under certain weather conditions. Murky runoff after storms can cloud visibility near mainland sites. 
  • Diving parties should know CPR and emergency procedures. Carry an adequate first-aid kit, including an oxygen delivery system. 
  • For diving emergencies, call local emergency medical services first. Then call the Diver's Alert Network (DAN) at 1-919-684-8111. 
  • Rangers (at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore) and the U.S. Coast Guard monitor marine channel 16. 
  • All boaters should use up-to-date NOAA charts for navigational purposes. 

CAUTION: Diving can be a hazardous sport, and participants dive at their own risk. The Wisconsin Historical Society and UW Sea Grant accept no responsibility for loss of any kind, including personal injury or property damage when diving the shipwrecks that dot the lakes. This information is provided for the exclusive use of certified recreational scuba divers or persons under the supervision of a certified dive instructor. Misuse of this information could result in injury or death. Always follow safe diving procedures: Monitor changing site conditions and weather; use a "diver down" flag; do not dive alone.






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